killer T cell


variants or less commonly killer T lymphocyte
plural killer T cells also killer T lymphocytes
: cytotoxic t cell
The antigen receptors of killer T cells allow them to recognize the viral peptides, which signal that a cell must be destroyed as unhealthy.Harald von Boehmer et al.
A subset of lymphocytes known as killer T cells may also respond to the envelope protein by destroying infected cells.William A. Haseltine et al.

Examples of killer T cell in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Something about this shape made the HLA-HIV combination on infected cells in elite controllers extraordinarily good for being seen by killer T cells, which then destroyed the infected cell. Bruce D. Walker, Scientific American, 1 July 2012 In a recent study published in the journal Immunity, Wherry and colleagues found that in healthy people with no prior COVID-19 infection, helper T cells rose after the first dose and killer T cell counts rose after the second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, 27 Sep. 2021 New research suggests that a malfunctioning member of the patient’s own immune system called a killer T cell may be one of the culprits. John Chang, The Conversation, 21 Aug. 2020 Despite its numerous mutations, omicron can trigger a strong killer T cell response. Mitzi Nagarkatti, The Conversation, 27 Jan. 2022 One way to reverse killer T cell exhaustion is to block the PD-1 off switch, but this does not boost the immune system’s response to the virus. Bhrugu Yagnik, The Conversation, 29 Sep. 2021 Even if a larger study confirmed that masturbating increases natural killer T cell levels, that alone doesn't say much. Mirel Zaman,, 23 Nov. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'killer T cell.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1971, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of killer T cell was in 1971

Dictionary Entries Near killer T cell

Cite this Entry

“Killer T cell.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

killer T cell

: a T cell that binds to and destroys cells (as one infected by a virus) which display specific antigens on their surface

Medical Definition

killer T cell

variants also killer T lymphocyte

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